Tag Archives: Death

Valuable Lessons

16 Jun

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me.”  Jeremiah 29:11-13 NLT

I lead a study for women. I started this group for women walking alone from divorce, widowhood or never been married, but this summer, God opened this up for all women. It happened so naturally, it could only be Him.  When that happens, there is a magic that takes place, a blessing that comes because He placed certain people together.

Grief is grief, so perfectly shared last night, it isn’t just loss of loved ones, or marriages, but we can grieve our health, or anything we perceive as a loss. We all lose over time, things we value. A friend just lost her home due to fire, a family member just lost their job.

As I prayed this morning, read my bible and thought of our conversations about control, fear and loss, it dawned on me that the root for fear in grief is that we don’t see ourselves or our lives the way God sees us. Yes, we naturally mourn deeply when our life changes, when there is loss. Missing someone or the familiar or what we have had before is natural.

Where we get stuck in loss is when we think whatever we lost, defined us.We fear being nothing without that which we think defined us. Having made us valuable, and losing made us nothing.

I revisited Eve and found this truth in Genesis 3:6. “The woman was convinced. She saw that the tree was beautiful and its fruit looked delicious, and she wanted the wisdom it would give her.”  The snake was able to get to Eve because she wanted to have more. She wanted to do more. She wanted to  know more and mostly, she wanted to BE more. She wasn’t enough.

Somewhere inside us all, there is the fear that we are not enough. It comes alive when we go through our trials, when we are weakened. We become weak in our sorrow, or health issues, our sleep deprivation, our hunger. There are many ways our fears can begin to play havoc with the truth. We begin to compare and fall short.

God already displayed the grandeur and value of us when He created us. We are beyond valuable to him. He tells us over and over, in many ways.  When He created us in His image He didn’t make any mistakes. He made man in His image. Strong and sturdy. He created women in His image as well, though very different from men. He gave one word to name our hearts and it is only used to describe one other heart. HIS. He numbered the hair on our head!

He tells us that He thinks of us more than the grains of sand on all the beaches of this world. 17 How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God!How great is the sum of them!18 If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand; Psalm 139:17-18.  

Most of us at one time or another, have lived in a state of comparison. In some way or another. We compare ourselves not just to people, but also to God.  As crazy as that sounds, unless we are fully surrendered, we are trying to control our world, even if it comes from a pure heart.

God doesn’t ask us to be Him. He provides us the Holy Spirit to be our strength where we are weak. He promises to give us wisdom when we seek it from Him. He asks us to humbly submit all the pieces before Him. To trust Him. It is there, in that perfect place of humble surrender that we fully find His Grace and Mercy.

We must accept and battle, what Eve did not remember, the hardest truth to believe. We are who HE tells us we are. He is who He says He is.  Our bodies do not define us. Our marriages do not define us. Our jobs do not define us. Our social status does not define us. Our children do not define us. Even how well we walk with Him, doesn’t define us. We must come to, and then constantly returning, from a place of surrender. Become humble enough to embrace that He is Omnipotent and Sovereign. To stay in worship of Him only. To constantly let go of idols that mess us up!

God defines us and until we actually grasp of the fullness of that we will never have peace.

         

You Know All About Me

139 For the Pure and Shining One
King David’s poetic song
Lord, you know everything there is to know about me.
You perceive every movement of my heart and soul,
    and you understand my every thought before it even enters my mind.
3–4 You are so intimately aware of me, Lord.
    You read my heart like an open book
    and you know all the words I’m about to speak
    before I even start a sentence!
    You know every step I will take before my journey even begins.
You’ve gone into my future to prepare the way,
    and in kindness you follow behind me
    to spare me from the harm of my past.[a]
    With your hand of love upon my life,
    you impart a blessing to me.
This is just too wonderful, deep, and incomprehensible!
    Your understanding of me brings me wonder and strength.[b]
Where could I go from your Spirit?
    Where could I run and hide from your face?
If I go up to heaven, you’re there!
    If I go down to the realm of the dead, you’re there too!
If I fly with wings into the shining dawn, you’re there!
    If I fly into the radiant sunset, you’re there waiting![c]
10 Wherever I go, your hand will guide me;
    your strength will empower me.
11 It’s impossible to disappear from you
    or to ask the darkness to hide me,
    for your presence is everywhere, bringing light into my night.
12 There is no such thing as darkness with you.
    The night, to you, is as bright as the day;
    there’s no difference between the two.
13 You formed my innermost being, shaping my delicate inside
    and my intricate outside,
    and wove them all together in my mother’s womb.[d]
14 I thank you, God, for making me so mysteriously complex!
    Everything you do is marvelously breathtaking.
    It simply amazes me to think about it!
    How thoroughly you know me, Lord!
15 You even formed every bone in my body
    when you created me in the secret place,[e]
    carefully, skillfully shaping me[f] from nothing to something.
16 You saw who you created me to be before I became me![g]
    Before I’d ever seen the light of day,
    the number of days you planned for me
    were already recorded in your book.[h]
17–18 Every single moment you are thinking of me!
    How precious and wonderful to consider
    that you cherish me constantly in your every thought!
    O God, your desires toward me are more
    than the grains of sand on every shore!
    When I awake each morning, you’re still with me.
19 O God, come and slay these bloodthirsty, murderous men!
    For I cry out, “Depart from me, you wicked ones!”
20 See how they blaspheme your sacred name
    and lift up themselves against you, but all in vain!
21 Lord, can’t you see how I despise those who despise you?
    For I grieve when I see them rise up against you.
22 I have nothing but complete hatred and disgust for them.
    Your enemies shall be my enemies!
23 God, I invite your searching gaze into my heart.
    Examine me through and through;
    find out everything that may be hidden within me.
    Put me to the test and sift through all my anxious cares.
24 See if there is any path of pain I’m walking on,
    and lead me back to your glorious, everlasting ways—
    the path that brings me back to you.

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THE Day Will Come.

4 Mar

I have had death and the end times on my heart. There is a deep need, an urgency in my heart to have people hear this.

I am only me. I am broken, imperfect, struggling to walk biblically, righteously and still I fall short of it. I am not a prophet nor a preacher, I am not someone people look up to. My love is imperfect and I am self-centered at times. Though, who I am, is irrelevant. It is God that urges me to write about a matter; He is perfect, His Love is perfect and never fails.

Isaiah 1:18(VOICE)
18 Come on now, let’s walk and talk; let’s work this out.
Your wrongdoings are bloodred,
But they can turn as white as snow.
Your sins are red like crimson,
But they can be made clean again like new wool.

I wish to plant this seed for you, this thought for you to remember always. Nothing is required of you today, but put these words in your heart “just in case”.

I am going to share with you what God has shown me, because if you are not where you need to be, spiritually, when the time comes, you will atleast have this seed to look back on and reconsider. If (when) that moment of reveal happens, you will know it for what it is, because I am telling you, it will come.

There is so much talk in the world about The Trumpet’s have sounded. The words “do you feel the end is near?” is everywhere. “Yes”, is the resounding answer and it is said with a hushed voice. This is deep stuff. We look around and see people we love that do not believe The Bible and the Words that it speaks, and it burdens our hearts. No one knows or can predict when Jesus will come, when the world will end, so with that said…it isn’t really about end times but rather our ending, and the joyful hope of living forever. We are all dying now, and death is death, Life eternal is an option that I am so excited about and I want everyone I meet to be there with me.

So, I will begin my urging with the question “What if The Bible is truth? What if Jesus, the man most religion’s acknowledge to be atleast a prophet, if not the Son of God, is exactly who He says He was. (If He wasn’t who He said He was, why acknowledge a liar? Hmmm… that always baffles me… but I digress).

Understanding the importance of Jesus in our plea for Heaven:
His life was about the teaching but He was born to die. His death is what you need to understand. His death is the only bridge to acceptance into heaven that we can have. There is not one of us on this earth that has not done wrong, that doesn’t fall short in one way or another. No one is sinless enough, good enough, kind enough, generous enough, humble enough, praising God enough, living a holy enough life for Heaven. Jesus suffered for us,He died for us, He took the punishment for our sins. If you believe He lived, if you believe He taught us, then you have to consider what He went through. Without Him, we can never be good enough to earn our way in. We will stand next to the likes of Mother Teresa, of the Hitler’s, our children and our enemies. We are, none of us, good enough, yet He died for all of us.

Consider what the Apostles had to go through to continue to spread the word of Christianity. Paul (Saul) was tortured, imprisoned and beaten, it is unclear how he died but reports have it that he was beheaded. He was changed in a moment. He was an unbeliever and a persecutor of all who followed Christ. His transformation was astounding.( Acts 9).
Peter, Andrew, Simon, Philip and Bartholomew were beaten then crucified, Peter was crucified upside down. James was beheaded, Matthew and Thomas were speared to death, James and Thaddaeus were stoned to death. Judas that betrayed Jesus, committed suicide. John died of old age alone on an island of exile. John, the beloved, shared the scripture you see all the time. John 3:16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

Would you suffer for something you were not completely sure of? Would you strive to move the world, be beaten, stoned, imprisoned, rejected, mocked, cursed, die, for a maybe? These men saw Christ with their own eyes. These men also had their moments of questions, right after Christ died, imagine the doubt, the “oh my word, what now?”. Jesus came to them to reassure them for you. He died for you.

Questions are okay, God loves dialogue! Always seek the truth from God. Don’t take my word for it, don’t find your answers in flawed mankind! Just because something is popular, doesn’t make it real. Seek the truth. Don’t listen to Christians, don’t listen to non-believers. Listen not to what the world will tell you, not what the latest author will tell you. Did you know that ‘The Secret’ is mostly taken from scripture without the name of the Lord? Don’t listen to one person, listen to them all and then ask God to show you what truth is.

Ask Jesus to come into your heart. If not now, remember I promised you that at some point, either in death or end times, that you would have that chance to make that choice! He will come to you. Be prepared for that time, remember that I told you this and be prepared to say yes.

If you do nothing else, remember this!

Jesus shared this story for us to learn, to understand:

Matthew 19:16-30 (MSG)
Another day, a man stopped Jesus and asked, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?”
Jesus said, “Why do you question me about what’s good? God is the One who is good. If you want to enter the life of God, just do what he tells you.”The man asked, “What in particular?”
Jesus said, “Don’t murder, don’t commit adultery, don’t steal, don’t lie, honor your father and mother, and love your neighbor as you do yourself.” The young man said, “I’ve done all that. What’s left?” “If you want to give it all you’ve got,” Jesus replied, “go sell your possessions; give everything to the poor. All your wealth will then be in heaven. Then come follow me.”
That was the last thing the young man expected to hear. And so, crestfallen, he walked away. He was holding on tight to a lot of things, and he couldn’t bear to let go.
As he watched him go, Jesus told his disciples, “Do you have any idea how difficult it is for the rich to enter God’s kingdom? Let me tell you, it’s easier to gallop a camel through a needle’s eye than for the rich to enter God’s kingdom.”
The disciples were staggered. “Then who has any chance at all?”
Jesus looked hard at them and said, “No chance at all if you think you can pull it off yourself. Every chance in the world if you trust God to do it.”
Then Peter chimed in, “We left everything and followed you. What do we get out of it?”
Jesus replied, “Yes, you have followed me. In the re-creation of the world, when the Son of Man will rule gloriously, you who have followed me will also rule, starting with the twelve tribes of Israel. And not only you, but anyone who sacrifices home, family, fields—whatever—because of me will get it all back a hundred times over, not to mention the considerable bonus of eternal life. This is the Great Reversal: many of the first ending up last, and the last first.”

Revelation 3:10 (NIV)
10 Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come on the whole world to test the inhabitants of the earth.
1 Corinthians 15:52 (NIV)
52 in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.
1 Thessalonians 5:2 (NIV)
2 for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night
Mark 13:32-37(NIV)
“But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. 33 Be on guard! Be alert[a]! You do not know when that time will come.
Matthew 24:42 (NIV)
42 “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come.
Mark 13:26 (NIV)
26 “At that time people will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory.

I Need a Holy Night

14 Dec

The greatest lessons in my life have come from struggle and trying times. The greatest gifts from loss and pain. It has taken me a lifetime to understand this.

I can look back and see how poverty, the family dynamic and having a father with Early-Onset Alzheimer’s helped create the person I am today, good and bad. Lessons learned in childhood bring us our reactions and coping skills for struggle and pain, it is only when we revisit those lessons as an adult that we can heal. As children, we do not have wisdom in which we can learn and grow from our experiences. We haven’t lived long enough to gain the wisdom that is necessary. The deeper the hurts, the stronger the resilience and thus, the longer the journey to heal can be.

Poverty and loss really shaped my independence, my controlling nature and my need for security. I became very self sufficient. I thought that material things didn’t matter to me, but I lied to myself, they did. I had a vision of comfort in my head that included a home, decorated to be comforting and warm; Food cooking and a family around the table. That was security. That was peace and comfort. I created a comfortable picture, yet it fell apart anyways, leaving me stunned.

I remember a Christmas of my childhood that was very meager. My poor mom was so sad for what she couldn’t provide us. What we did have was God, shelter, family and love, but that wasn’t the focus. We were living in a place and time of material giving for Christmas. What was lost, in the desire to gain gifts, was the Greatest Gift of all. Jesus had lost the focus as our provider, our hope and our joy. He is the Father to the fatherless. We were fatherless. We had each other, but it was too much to process. I lost both my parents in one disease, dad to the illness, mom had to work. The burdens of adulthood fell on little shoulders, much too early. Abandonment was not something I was equipped to feel, to process.  It created a real lack of trust in my heart and relationships with men that were just as ill equipped to build a life as I was. Money, yes, relationship, no. When you live waiting for the other shoe to drop, you would think you are prepared for when it actually does. I wasn’t. When you live in fear, you don’t know God and you don’t trust. When people leave us as children, we somehow wrap our value up in that. As if we had something to do with the leaving. Children are so vulnerable. Divorce, abuse, death, illness, emotional abandonment.. these change our children.

In the process of walking in my faith, of gaining a relationship with Him, learning to gain my security in Him, learning to trust Him; I have grown to see myself in His eyes. He created me to be this person. I see the gifts He has blessed me with, my ability to bring people together, to build, to create. I have a genuine love for women, and I am learning to have a Christ like love for men. God has put incredible men, Godly men, loving men, respectful, committed men in my path. He put His loving light in my heart and when I am connected with Him, plugged in, people respond to that light.

Christmas is about the people I am around and the light that shines in all of us. Christmas is about the kids, but maybe for Christmas the best thing we can do is love them, spend time becoming whole and plugged in to the Father. Maybe the best gift we can give our children is to reconnect with God and also their other parent. Heal the wounds that make kids think they are a little less lovable. Spend time with a child that is vulnerable. Breathe life into their wounded souls.
Finding Christ in Christmas doesn’t mean you can’t love Santa and enjoy the fun of this time of year (actually I find it a great way to share the love of Christ).

Christ came down for us, to save us. He carries us, as adults we need that, imagine the need in our children. I know, I need the Holy Night, the quiet night. Spending time in quiet, reading the story of Jesus in Luke or Matthew, renews me, moves me. Maybe it would do the same for you. Maybe let that bring you back to the Holy Night and the gift that was offered to you. Maybe,let that change you.

Matthew 5:3-5 (MSG)
3 “You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule.

4 “You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you.

5 “You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are—no more, no less. That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought.

Luke 12:7 (NIV)
7 Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.

1 Peter 5:6-7 (MSG)
6-7 So be content with who you are, and don’t put on airs. God’s strong hand is on you; he’ll promote you at the right time. Live carefree before God; he is most careful with you.

Revelation 21:4 (NIV)
4 ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’[a] or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

John 15:2-6(NIV)
2 He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes[a] so that it will be even more fruitful. 3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.

5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.

Hebrews 12:6
New International Version (NIV)
6 because the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.

2 Corinthians 8:9
9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich
Proverbs 28:6
6 Better the poor whose walk is blameless
than the rich whose ways are perverse.

Luke 12:32-34(NIV)
32 “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. 33 Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will never fail, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. 34 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Isaiah 65:17-25
17 “See, I will create
new heavens and a new earth.
The former things will not be remembered,
 nor will they come to mind.
18 But be glad and rejoice forever in what I will create,
for I will create Jerusalem to be a delight
 and its people a joy.
19 I will rejoice over Jerusalem
and take delight in my people;
the sound of weeping and of crying
will be heard in it no more